A Time to Kill

I can fully understand the technologically driven age that we live in. We need to be connected because our workplace, friends and family have societally demanded that of us. That's why I'm only mildly offended when I hang out with either of the two friends that I have and wind up spending the majority of our time together staring at the top of their heads as they're collectively buried in their $600 phones. Milking digital cows and applying Christmas hats to your faux free range chickens for six hours a day in a Facebook farming simulator is obviously more critical to your happiness than proper socialization and the acknowledgment that I'm sitting a mere sixteen inches away. That's okay, too. I can pretty much guarantee that I wouldn't have been interested in what would have been coming out of your mouth. I don't need to know about how the creepy overweight guy that really enjoys pears and smells of kitty litter is undressing you with his eyes. I'm perfectly content enjoying the company of my inner monologue, and I'm real goddamn satisfied with not having to expend energy appearing enthralled.

What I'm not satisified with is being sleep deprived. Which brings me to the one issue that bothers me more than any other as an adult. No, I'm not talking about the politicization of climate change and the subsequent pontification that winds up being drooled about regarding how it will or won't  impact our future. I'm pretty positive that Florida dropping to the bottom of the Atlantic is inarguably bad. All that meth and bath salt entering the earth's ocean would be a game changer for sure. I don't know about you, but I enjoy a world with manatees and flamingos. All the dead people would be a bummer too I guess. Anyway, I'm also not talking about the Syrian war that's lead to the migration of nine million displaced and fleeing citizens either. This crisis eclipses both of those trivial gripes. I'm talking about women leaving their cell phones on at night.

I need sleep. You need sleep. Women need sleep. We all need sleep, so why does the finer sex feel the need to keep their Frozen themed iPhone on through the wee morning hours with the volume set at "thousand vuvuzelas." I understand having your alarm set, but is it necessary to have the entirety of the song "Call Me Maybe" play every time a text gets sent your way? The phone's never at a reasonable distance from their cellularly  addicted arms either. It's either three rooms away sitting in a timed safe that's located behind a locked door, or it's duct taped to the side of their head with a USB cable directly linking their phone to their prefrontal lobe. How does this help anyone? Does having to cross county lines to get to your phone really help anybody, especially when you consider that the ring is still deafening? It would be nice to silence Carly Rae Jepsen before the third chorus kicks in. Same goes for hiding your mini-tablet in the bed. Will me rolling onto it and waking up with a shard of gorilla glass in my liver really benefit anyone? I'm serious, is it really not plausible to set your phone on the end-table next to the bed where prior to 2010 all alarms used to live? Is it also not reasonable to turn it on alarm mode or off?

Whenever I decided to inevitably spell my own relationship doom by asking my girlfriends to show some sleep related courtesy, I invariably got the retarded response of, "What if it's an emergency?" My response is always, "What if it is?" Will you having your Galaxy Note that's currently doubling as a tampon really fucking matter? Will your Uncle's heart somehow not implode if your phone is resting uncomfortably in your uterus? Will that unexpected head-on collision that your cousin gets into be avoided if you have your phone set to blow out my eardrums at way-too-fucking-early-AM? No, whatever traumatic event that occurred will have already occurred. Being paranoid won't change the fact that your mimaw croaked at the infantile age of 97. She'll be dead whether you wake up at 2:00am or 9:00am. The key is that you'll be able to address the situation in a more level headed manner after receiving those extra six hours of sleep.
Also, let's be honest, how many emergencies have you caught thanks to your phone being on at three in the morning? For most of us, I'm guessing zero. For the more unfortunate people among us, one? Two? Now, how many hours of sleep have you deprived your partner of by having intoxicated idiots who want to plow you shoot you a message when the bar cuts them off? Every other goddamn night. If it's not drunken douchebags attempting to encroach on my girlfriend's vagina, it's that annoying friend that everyone has that incessantly whines about how they're depressed and how no one knows their pain because they're an insomniac. First off, fuck those lonely friends. You know what would solve their loneliness? Sleeping and then joining a bowling team. You can be incontinent, suffering from type III diabetes and have the social skills of a starfish and you could still be accepted by the bowling community. For the lowly price of three gallons of milk you could have a team of chums. That way, you'd have friends, my girlfriend's phone would stop blowing up and I'd get some goddamn peace and quiet between the hours of midnight and sunrise. Oh, and you're not an insomniac. You trying to jam your dick into my relationship when your tired enough to not have self-control doesn't make you an insomniac. It means you're probably unemployed and spend your nights doing 13 hour raids in Destiny. That's not a disorder, that's a lifestyle that involves you wanting to get your dick sucked when your done leveling up your Warlock.
I've been plagued with this shitty bedroom etiquette for the better part of a decade. The worst part about it is whenever I broach the subject I'm immediately branded as a selfish prick. Apparently, wanting a continuous four hours of sleep a night is slothful, but having dudes blow up your phone with their less than innocuous intentions is all good. The arguments I had with my girlfriends always ended with me winning, but me actually losing, because me winning equaled me getting a moratorium placed on my balls. On the rare occasion that a phone related compromise would be struck, it always involved them putting their phone on vibrate. A fate even worse than the ringing. A ring at least suggests a melody. Vibrate simply sounds like someone's repeatedly beating the shit out of my end table with a Louisville Slugger. And that's their idea of striking a deal. That'd be like me saying, "Don't worry, I'll stop cheating on you with other women. I'll just sleep with groups of HIV infected men and not tell you."

Just turn your fucking phone off. Any call of any importance can be made in the morning. We managed crises before cell phones, and short of a nuclear winter, I think we can survive and even thrive in what would be a utopic world of well rested souls.    



How do I get my girlfriend/wife's family to like me?

Most people dislike their own family. I'm not most people. In fact, I have two families that enjoy my company, and that I'm rather fond of. My ex's family that lives a meager two miles away, and my biological family that lives in Montana (Mom), North Dakota (Dad) and Oregon (Sister). (For those of you that question my familial neediness, or for those of you that are geographically challenged, that's an average distance of 1390 miles from my hometown of San Diego, California. 1390 miles can also be described as a 23 hour car ride, 18 hour train ride, 19 days of non-stop walking, three hundredths of a second if I was clinging to the undercarriage of Apollo 11 and six years and three months if I traveled via bus. That's a lot of loneliness and quite the distance for an occasional bit of TLC. All those are mathematically proven times, by the way. For the bus I'm accounting for the inevitable Mexican cartel kidnapping in Stockton and the hospital stint that I'll be forced to endure after getting a spork shoved handle deep into my spleen by a methed out hobo that thought I was a five foot eight grilled cheese that was trying to make a break for it.)
Most people wonder why I would want to con my way into being adopted by my ex's family. The "why" obviously stems from my biological family being located so far away. Their lack of proximity essentially forced me to find an alternative family to latch onto for my everyday needs and the continued emotional well-being of my mind. It may seem weird that I've seemingly contracted out what should be a list of my enemies, but it honestly meets Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for me, so it works. Think about that, most people have a difficult time not disappointing their own families. Meanwhile, I've managed to get inside the inner circle of my ex in-laws. You know what kind of chicanery led to me snowing my ex's extended family into enjoying my company? I didn't projectile vomit all over them while sitting in the back seat of a car ride that was intended to be the start of a relaxing family vacation. Pressure washing your little sister and mother with the waffles you had for breakfast while doing 80 mph down the freeway is a solid way to kill the goodwill of any loving family member. And while that kind of outcome weakens the bond of the biological child, the spew makes the recently canned significant other look all the more appealing.
To be more specific about the situation, I was riding in the backseat with Lyssie and Ruby. My ex's sister and mom. We were headed up to a secluded high desert forest vacation spot called Wrightwood. It was a yearly tradition to go there, rent a cabin and pretend to be off the grid for a weekend. On the surface it was a solid idea for a technology-less bit of decompression. Sadly, it would almost always invariably end with me eating fifty dollars worth of Farmer's market food while binge watching Quentin Tarantino films in my boxers. So the term off the grid might be a little bit misleading. It was more like appearing to be homeless and unhygienic in front of friends and faux family. The trip to Wrightwood is also a freeway-filled three hour drive from where we live in San Diego. Before Lyssie, Ruby and I got to Wrightwood we were slated to pick up my ex, Amber, at the condo she was renting on the outskirts of Cal Poly Pamona. It was a gated community just outside of where she happened to be attending university. What we failed to anticipate when we were picking her up was that she was drunk and hopped up on Vicodin. I'm sure you can imagine what a California Summer, a long car ride, a 1.8 blood alcohol level and a list of pharmaceuticals do to your stomach when you're prone to motion sickness and are sitting in the back seat of a Ford pickup. The pills and Jager Bombs tend to try and plot an escape route through any open orifice they can find.  Luckily for all of us, it happened to be her mouth. To my everlasting fortune, I never got Double Dare oozed. You see, Amber was quite obviously woozy, so I did the only thing an unsympathetic ex could do. I feigned concern and asked if she was okay. She said she thought she was going to puke. I immediately told her to roll down the window and let loose out the side of the car. Naturally, she ignored my common sense plea and just looked at me with all the desperation of someone that could clearly re-taste the two dozen .99 cent Jack in the Box tacos that I'm sure she drunkenly pounded the previous night. After a few beats of non-responsiveness I responded with a heartwarming, "Don't you fucking dare puke on me." She responded by looking straight ahead and layering the dash, terminal, seats and shoulders of her family with what can only be described as a junky daiquiri, or for the mixologists out there, an Amy Winehouse on the rocks. 

That's honestly all it takes to get in your in-laws good graces. I was invited out on these fun expeditions out of a sort of family deprived pity, but ended up behaving myself, enjoying myself and looking like a saint all at the same time. Meanwhile, their own flesh and blood looked like they had been chained up to the hot water heater of a flophouse for a fortnight. That's  really all it takes to acquire a substitute family. Seriously, it's been over a decade since Amber and I's relationship ended and I still have a stocking hanging over their fireplace. So what I'm basically saying is, if you want to be loved, you need to force those that are closest to you to funnel an excessive amount of white lightening and chase it with a forklift-load of Taco Bell. After they're sufficiently stuffed and schnockered you then need to spike their drink with prescription strength medication and reap the rewards of their misfortune for years to come. Or just be a decent human being and let the cards fall where they may. It's a lot less fun that way, but probably slightly less illegal.    

Man on Fire

There's nothing better in this world than a woman. They're intellectually stimulating, comforting, sexy, and to a much less important extent, they give us life. Sure, they might have a few quirks that usually accompany them; like getting way too mad about leaving the toilet seat up and drinking straight out of the half gallon jug of Simply Orange OJ that's chilling in the fridge, but they're generally worth the occasional inconvenience. Another common complaint that you might have to deal with is that they might bitch about the cost of using AC even if you can afford the expense and live in the middle of the Mojave desert. To be fair, I think this has more to do with their inability to conduct heat than anything. Seriously, I've been profusely sweating in bed and have had a ground fan on that was facing the wall in the spare bedroom and I've still been beaten down by a barrage of bitching. I swear to Christ, I could force feed them habanero peppers, wrap them in Saran wrap that was coated in IcyHot and roll them into a sauna and they'd still find a way to nag about how the fan that the neighbors have on is really unnecessary. I don't know if it's the Norwegian in me or what, but I start to sweat the instant the temperature goes above freezing. Seriously, if the standing water in the room isn't ice, my balls start condensating like a cold Mr. Pibb that's been left in the Summer sun. That's why I don't understand cuddling. It's one of my biggest complaints about the fairer sex. I've never been curious to feel what it's like to touch the surface of the sun, so why do women seem to want to analyze that unnecessary data? Honestly, I'm not a fan of friction-less heat, so please stop essentially microwaving my manhood by placing the entire weight of your upper body on every inch of my exposed skin. I tend to enjoy sleeping more than I fancy feeling like I've been doused in kerosene and tossed into an Easy-Bake Oven.

I understand the cuddling after sex aspect of a relationship. You tossed us a proverbial bone and we're going to accommodate you by pretending to be emotionally invested. That's called compromise. What I don't get is the Jiu-Jitsu arm and leg lock that we have to be in for them to be satisfied. I enjoy the acrobatics of Cirque Du Soleil just like any other red-blooded American. I just don't need to re-enact it while sweaty, naked and not having sex.

I'm not necessarily saying women are terrible for wanting to cuddle, but it impacts my sleep and subsequently makes me act like a dick to every single human being that I'm forced to interact with for at least two days afterwards.
What's the solution here then? It's called holding hands, hugging and tossing your arms around each other when your coherent. It'll be much more satisfying to be aware of each other's affection than it will be to chance being irritated by it. I don't want to be ripped out of my REM cycle because you had to scratch your ass at 3am. What I want is to be loved, and presumably that's what you want. That's why caressing one another while conscious is such a monumentally productive courtesy. The appreciation for one another will go up ten-fold. Furthermore, no one will harbor any ill-will and we'll all be a little more well-rested and presumably respectful towards all those around us the following morning.



Shallow Hal

Believe it or not, there are people out there that are far more terrible than significant others, co-workers and customers. They're called friends. The worst of which feel the need to offer advice on and about the relationship that you're trying to cultivate with your significant other. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing inherently awful about reminding your friend that bros obviously come before hoes. The real problem stems from individuals who dispense gems like my pickup basketball pals frequently do. Honestly, when I hear these testosterone laden lowlifes speak, I'm often left in awe that women enjoy the company of men at all. For example, one guy I played basketball with heard me talk about an upcoming date I planned out that involved going to SeaWorld. His honest response was to pull me aside in between games and let me know man to man that, "You might as well walk around town with a dildo in your ass, it'd be the same thing as going to SeaWorld." He then further enlightened me on what I'm guessing is a new form of progressive dating by saying, "You should just stay home and fuck. Seriously, girls dig that." This was his honest and serious opinion on how to best secure a long term partner. Not to hit him with a straw man argument or anything, but this guy did play pickup hoops bare foot and drunk. To be fair, the only reason he was ever drunk on the court is because he would usually be exiled from the local golf course for being smashed and belligerent. The scary part about his clear case of alcoholism is that he was still one of the top ten or 15 guys I ever played hoops against. Even in that condition he could still ball out, so he does deserve some credit for his athleticism and the superb condition of his always affected equilibrium. His relationship advice, however, falls somewhere below Dr. Phil and slightly above Jared from Subway on the scale of sensibility. I mean, sure his advice was sensible if you're, as he routinely put it, "Trying to get your dick wet," but when it comes to practical advice that you can implement everyday, it sort of missed the mark.
These self-professed gurus act and express themselves in a way that would suggest that they're on the verge of penning the next version of The Game. Never mind the fact that they're conquests amount to a couple of super high fat chicks at Popeye's Chicken. Despite that little fact, they never stop philosophizing about their poon related advice long enough to ruminate on the notion that they've never had a relationship that's lasted longer than the length of an average Padres game (I don't know baseball, but I'm pretty sure that's like seven weeks and 42 innings, or maybe it just feels like that every time I watch baseball. Seriously, the activity you're participating in can't be called entertaining or a sport if you can take part in it with a lip full of chew, a beer gut and a cheek full of sunflower seeds. Can you imagine Kevin Durant pounding a six-pack of Bud with a mouth full of Snuff while he's dropping 360 tomahawk dunks? No, because that's what you call a real fucking sport. Not a million dollar hobby that diabetic middle-age illegals play to avoid being deported). It also doesn't help that these philandering armchair psychiatrists' ability to score usually involves a heavy reliance on juicing up under age drinkers with handles of Fireball. Scamming for juniors in high school and bribing them with booze that they can't physically tolerate or legally buy is not relationship advice. It's a recipe for landing on Megan's List or winding up with an illegitimate kid because you landed a covert bible thumper that thinks Plan B is the device of the devil. So next time you think it's your place to insert advice into your friends' lives, feel free to insert a dildo into your own ass and just play pickup hoops. Please, just pass on expressing your expertise on how you romance your imaginary conquests. Your experience sodomizing drunken teens doesn't give you the proper credentials to dispense council. Just like me watching 'Gravity' doesn't give me the right to start bloviating on the ins-and-outs of astrophysics. I'm not being mean, it's just called fucking reality.

I'm not saying don't ever dole out advice. I'm just saying that if you can't make it through the front nine of a golf course that costs less than an Andrew Jackson to play, save some of that valuable wisdom for yourself. 

Finding Nemo

I don't want to suggest that only co-workers and customers are terrible. There are a number of other everyday individuals that fall snugly into the sewage filled side of the social spectrum. One variety of awesome asshole that haunts nearly every one of us is the creature known as the significant other. No matter how hard you try to avoid conflict or relationship turmoil, partners always find a way to inject a heavy dose of douchiness into what would otherwise be an innocent and joyful experience. 

I remember one time I was at Disneyland with my girlfriend, Amber. She was more than just my girlfriend, though, she was the acting manager at the pizzeria I worked for as well. Contrary to popular belief, this didn't complicate matters. I listened to what she said at work (within reason) and she treated me like a human being. Off the job we could abuse each other as frequently as we wanted to. That was about the only thing that wasn't complicated when it came to Amber. One particularly confounding and complicated situation occurred while we were standing in the line for the submarine ride at the aforementioned "Happiest Place On Earth." The submarine ride at this point was pre-Finding Nemo, so if anyone remembers, the ride consisted of a three hour line that led to a hunk of aluminum that took you a grand total of eleven inches underwater. The climax of the ride consisted of a statue of a diver that was sculpted by a blind day laborer that I'm guessing  ol' Walt picked up at his local Home Depot back in 1955. The only entertaining part of the ride was the guarantee that the captain would be higher than Michael Jackson circa 2009. This down syndrome version of Captain Phillips would be jacked up on either spice or amphetamines and would flicker the lights of the sub on and off like we were hitting some sort of underwater turbulence. Two minutes later, someone on the sub would fart, the hatch would be closed and you'd be forced to spend the better part of the next seven minutes being dutch ovened and questioning why you spent $110 dollars on tickets that could have been spent on a dinner at Ruth's Chris that might have ended with a date doling out a courtesy blowjob. At about this point in the ride, thoughts of opening the hatch and drowning everybody would inevitably cross your mind until you realized that the sub wasn't even submerged and the the chance of survival for everyone on this septic tank smelling sardine can was entirely too high.
Despite these hard hitting realities, I couldn't help but be satisfied with the day. We were at Disneyland after all. I'm convinced that the park emits an odorless gas that's two parts nitrous oxide and one part horse tranquilizer. It's the only reasonable explanation for people enjoying the act of standing in line for seven hours a day with screaming children that should in all reality be tied to the tracks of Thunder Mountain for the good of the general public. In my moment of satisfaction, I was leaning against the railing of the line staring at the family behind me. I wasn't eyeballing anyone. Just merely glancing at the Latino family that had their three year-old child strapped to a leash a few spots down from us. I'm not one of these people that hates on families that use leashes. I admire them. They're acknowledging that their children are misbehaved and they found a solution. Better yet, it's a solution that allows my life to not to be impacted by their ADD riddled child. That's when Amber saw that I was staring, looked to see what I thought was so exciting and then instantly started making hateful comments about abusive parents that shouldn't leash their offspring. I don't care that she decided to voice her own opinion. Everyone's entitled to their own form of judgment. I just wish she had voiced it an octave or thirteen lower, because the thugged out Hispanic homeboy of a father stared directly at me and proceeded to say, "You got a problem, holmes?" I immediately responded with a, "No. Not at all. I didn't say anything." The always opinionated Amber then decided to double down and say, "You shouldn't strap a leash on your child. What is he, a dog?" I just stood there completely flabbergasted by Amber's boldness. The entire time Amber was telling the fully fledged MS-13 member how to properly parent, he never wavered in his eye contact with me. He just focused in on me and said, "What the fuck's your problem, mang?" He then made several hostile gyrations, voiced a multitude of threats and expressed a desire to kick my ass. My consistent response was, "I'm not saying anything. Blame her. I don't care what you do to your kid." Amber continued to voice her displeasure until I eventually I just told Amber to shut the fuck up, in more gentler terms of course. Why do girlfriends do this? There's no need or reason for a beef and yet a girlfriend's sole goal is to stir one up. I think they do it because they know that they'll avoid being assaulted. Their guys will be the one with a Little Mermaid dinglehopper jammed in between their L3 and L4 vertebrae. Also, guys, why do we have to punish our own gender for the shit talking of the more seductive sex? If a bitch is mouthing off, take your aggression out on her. Not the dude that's standing innocently next to her. It's not his fault his worse half has a big mouth.
I know this is where the guy is supposed to step up and defend his lady, but fuck that. If homey would have harassed my girl first, that'd be one thing, but she started an unwarranted fight, she should have to step up and finish it. Innocent bystanders shouldn't be drawn into the equation. 

This is just one of the many reasons girlfriends and boyfriends are all-around awful people. I abso-fucking-lutely guarantee I'll be sharing more like this soon.

Catch Hell

What would be the best way to let a restaurant know if I had a terrible experience? I want to let someone know that the food and service wasn't up to snuff, but I don't want to be a jerk about it.

First off, congratulations. You're probably one of only a half dozen people left on the planet that doesn't want to extract the soul and dignity of your server. Usually your whiny ilk make me and my cohorts want to tie you to a fire ant hill and strap a Nachos Bell Grande to your inner thigh. It's the only solution to the .99 cent Taco Bell problem that you're raising a stink about.

Honestly, productive complaining is relatively simple. Just call the store back in a timely fashion and rationally explain that the .99 cent taco that you just got high and ate didn't exceed your expectations. Just don't berate us on how your taste buds weren't twerking on the tip of your tongue. We're peddling you food that's going to cause your heart to erupt like Mount St. Helen's, we're not offering up aged Kobe beef with fresh muscles that were tenderly massaged by virgin china-men. Don't give me any bullshit on how you have exceedingly delicate taste either. You're ordering from something called a value menu. You're not a  fucking Sommelier of the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger world, so stop giving us the stink eye and raising a shit storm over your lack of free condiments. Simply ask for your money back in a polite fashion. We'll always acquiesce, you'll get your money back, and we'll proceed to talk shit about you once you leave. That's the natural order of the fast food world.
I understand reasonable gripes, though, especially at pricier restaurants. I remember going to the moderately priced Benihana's and getting the surf-n-turf only to find out that our cook was manning his last table ever. You see, in his introduction to the table, the chef made the declaration that he was quitting. Incidentally, while giving us a heads up that he was officially checked out, he let it slip that he had gotten super baked before handling our food. For those of you that have never been to Benihana's. It's a $30 or $40 dollar a plate establishment where Mexicans pretending to be Japanese cooks prepare your food on an industrial hibachi grill right in front of you while performing enjoyable and unenthusiastic acts of dexterity. I'm talking about juggling utensils, creating the profile of Mickey Mouse out of fried rice, tossing shrimp tails into their pockets, etc, etc. Well, this mensch thought it would be amusing to tell us "happy 4/20" after every course that we were served. He then created a penis that was ejaculating butter out of our fried rice. Fortunately for us, he saved his real masterpiece for last. His creation was a Louvre-worthy work of art that involved making a marijuana leaf out of the vegetables. He managed to accomplish this all while flirting with what he thought was my girlfriend, throwing butter at one of my friends multiple times, and giving my entree to a strange smoking hot chick that was sitting at the other end of the table. 

It was a once in a lifetime kind of experience, but unfortunately it was one that I paid $50 dollars for. I didn't freak out, though. I merely waited until the end of our meal, received the check and then politely informed the hostess about my lobster-less plight. Her solution was to say sorry and comp me $5 dollars. Now I'll admit, I may have failed trigonometry, but that adds up to an astronomical amount of horseshit. Despite my shitty restitution, I still managed to keep myself from skewering what I'm guessing was a community college dropout with the empty kebab stick that was supposed to be home to half of my missing main course. Instead of taking this much easier, slightly more tyrannical approach, I opted to take the high road and simply not come back. Why? Because that's exponentially more painful than anything else you can do to a business. There's no need for me to slander the store or spit fire at the chick with the fake tits that's put in charge of seating people. A polite request to remedy the situation was all that was needed. And since my appeal of the check went unanswered, I just took the lesson that I learned, chocked it up to some added wisdom, and moved on. That's all that's necessary in this scenario. My patronage would have added hundreds of dollars annually to the coffers of the staff and management. Now, they'll get nothing from me besides a walking negative advertisement that unintentionally deters those around me from partaking in the otherwise enjoyable experience that is Benihana's.  Others who have similar shitty situations will wind up taking their thousands elsewhere as well. So the vote that I'm casting with my dollar will turn out to be the most impactful and damaging election I can make, and truthfully, that's all that it takes to separate a quality establishment from one that has a super high Asian uncomfortably slinging around ultra sharpened hibachi knives that are more like mini-samurai swords than actual steak utensils.

Most of the time blacklisting a restaurant is completely unnecessary, though. Just call the establishment back or smile and share your trying times. The owner/operator will usually comp you, give you something to look forward to the next time you visit, or they'll simply convince you that they're not worth your time. And is that so bad? Think about it, haven't you gone to a movie or played a video game that you didn't enjoy? Was your first thought to ever call the developers or the directors and bitch about how you sat through something like Grown Ups 2? Sure, the Grown Ups franchise made you want to take a melon baller to your eyes, but no, you didn't call Kevin James up and tell him to ride his Segway off the deck of his yacht. You sucked up your miserable experience and told everyone to go snuff out the lives of nearby toddlers so their virgin eyes could be spared the pain of having to grow up in a world where they would be forced to witness the atrocities that emerge from the mind of Adam Sandler. That, or you just opted not to see anymore Happy Madison productions like any normal human being would. Either way, there's no bitchiness required. 

Enter The Void

Wayne's Wisdom:

Don't ask questions and don't show that you care. 

Why did I dole out a two-for-one here? It's because one inevitably leads to the other. If you ask enough questions, you'll inevitably start to care, and if you start to care, you'll wind up asking questions that'll eventually amp up the level of caring even more. It's a twisted cycle of humanity and unselfishness that always leads to a painfully bitter end.
I simply speak from experience here. There's one particular customer I routinely delivered to that's falls into this bit of wisdom perfectly. I delivered a pizza to them and their half million dollar home for over seven years. It was always the same middle-aged couple that would order the same medium pepperoni and sausage pizza, habanero wings and 2-liter of coke every Friday for nearly a decade. I was the closing driver on Friday nights, so naturally this meant that I would more-often-than-not get saddled with this distantly located destination. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. They were courteous and kickass tippers. In fact, there were only two real quirks to this address. The first is that the couple lived on a hill that was set at a 55 degree angle, or for those of you that are mathematically challenged: it was steep enough that if your Pabst Blue Ribbon slipped out of your hand at the summit, you'd be shit out of luck. That aluminum can that I'm convinced is filled with urine and the tears of IPA connoisseurs would be crossing county lines before you could yell "party foul." The couple even inserted directions into their order that stated that we shouldn't drive up the driveway. They advised us to park at the bottom and grab an oxygen tank for what would wind up being the equivalent of a heavy leg day at the gym, or as I like to call it, a Sickle Celled sufferer's worst nightmare. Just ask Steeler's DB Ryan Clark how his oxygen-less journeys to Mile High Stadium went. His spleen and gallbladder weren't fans. Understandably too, considering that they're a distant memory on operating room floor.That's essentially what my calves felt like after lugging six pounds of food up the cliff face that they had masquerading as their driveway.  

The second delivery oddity is that only the wife would answer the door. She would walk to the door, recite the same kindhearted greeting she always did, tip five to seven dollars and then send us on our merry little barely employable way. I guess that's not an oddity, but it was uncanny how similar every transaction with her turned out to be. The same platitudes would be recited at the same goddamn place and around the same goddamn time every single week. I'm convinced that they didn't even fancy our food. I'm pretty sure that they ordered just to fulfill the OCD voices that were rattling around in their severely routine based skulls.

Anyway, one evening I noticed that the couple's order only included a 20oz bottle of the liquid weight gain known as Coke instead of the CamelBak worth of the shit that they usually ordered. Like I said before, they always ordered a 2-liter, so I knew something was up when I saw that 20oz bottle staring at me. In my always astonishing intellectual brilliance, I realized the mistake that I'm guessing one of our new cooks made, and grabbed both a 20oz and a 2-liter bottle on my way out. I rather be safe and wrong than have to hire another Sherpa to lead me the whole 12 miles back to the summit of Stall Your Car Mountain for another couple of cups worth of Diabetes in a can. Worst case scenario is that I would come back with a warm soda to restock in the cooler after an ultimately successful delivery.
Nothing unusual happened on my way out there or on the journey to the top of the hill. Well, besides the destruction of my knees and the increased degeneration of every ligament in my lower body, but besides having to intermittently apply Icy Hot to every bit of available skin below my waist just to keep me moving, everything went pretty smoothly. When I knocked on the door, I was met with the always present and chipper wife and we even exchanged our standard superficial conversation. After our polite introductions, I handed her the order and mentioned, "I saw you ordered a 20oz bottle of coke instead of a 2-liter. I know you usually order the larger bottle. I have the 2-liter in my car, did you want me to go get it?" Without missing a beat the woman replied with a nonchalant, "No. The 20oz bottle is right. I don't need a 2-liter any more. My husband died, so I don't need all that sugar anymore now that he's gone." She then smiled and sent me on my way. I couldn't backtrack fast enough. There was nothing I could say. I thought I was doing someone a solid by memorizing their order and attempting to course correct on the fly. Who would have thought that I would get hit with a happy-go-lucky proclamation about a dead spouse for my effort.
This is why you shouldn't ask questions or care. I showed initiative, skilled memorization and I even attempted to avoid what could have been an obvious order taking error, and yet that was the response I got. I'm not blaming the customer. She had enough on her plate. Not missing a beat while informing me of her husband's passing was a little peculiar and all, but the onus falls squarely on me for trying to overachieve. If I would have simply allowed my narcissistic tunnel vising to consume my outlook on the world around me, I could have successfully avoided the uncomfortable exchange entirely. This goes for everybody and everything. Don't care or try. If you do, you will be socially punished. And asking questions only leads to caring, so just remember to keep everyone at arm's reach, check your phone constantly so as to show zero awareness and 100% selfishness, and just keep moving on with your life in a blissfully ignorant haze. It's the only solution to what is guaranteed to otherwise be immense verbal pain and the untimely slaughtering of your sanity. 

Little Children, Part Two

I'm going to jump straight into part two of how to avoid having your food delivered hours late by a pissed off driver that made sure you paid a premium for a pizza that's destined to get some face time with the back seat of their car thanks to a few unnecessary but satisfying brake checks. 

First off, if you don't want your pizzas to look like they were stuck in a Honda Civic branded Cuisinart, don't call in and have us do a rundown on the entirety of our menu. I'm not saying have your order chambered and ready to go (although it'd be nice). Just don't call at 7pm on a Friday and have a group discussion with your softball team about the seventeen page menu we just finished reading off to you. Just know approximately what you'd like and we'll drag you the rest of the way over that Special Olympic's sponsored finish line. 

Also, don't put us on hold. That's probably the most egregious decision you can make. You called us to place an order, so choosing to pick up your other line to talk to your nana about the enema she got that day for her Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not a priority. Finish telling me that you have the mental agility of a netted dolphin and simply order the pepperoni pizza that I know you're going to order anyway. You're not going to be spontaneous and order a feta and spinach pizza, so stop attempting to be an outside of the box thinker and stick with the standard cheesy fare so we can all move on with our life and have a few extra minutes to spare because of it.

Being put on hold isn't an uncommon occurrence either. I'd say there's generally a violator of this war crime about once every two shifts. Usually it happens before any words are even exchanged. We'll pick up, say hello and then be met with a, "Oh hey, could you hold please?" Why even ask us at this point? You made the decision to be rude, commit to it. Just make the proclamation that we can go fornicate with ourselves because the needs of responsible customers are neither here nor there.  It'd be the honest route to take. Let's back up for a second, though, think about doing this to someone in person. It'd be like if you waited in line at your local Starbucks, you finally got to the barista at the end of the five minute long line, and then the first thing you said is, "Oh hey, could you fuck off for about four minutes while I toss out a Twitter update about what I'm ordering?" People in line would carry your soon-to-be lifeless corpse to the back of the line and then deposit you into the recycling bin in hopes that the second time around you'd come out with something called a fucking conscience. Or more realistically, we'd all stew in a marinade of hate and meet an early grave thanks to the resulting high blood pressure and stress that you dumped into our veins courtesy of your narcissism. 

Another thing, I know I touched on this a bit earlier, but I need to reiterate myself; don't poll a house party worth of drunkards to see what they want while you're on the phone. Do it prior to the conversation that you're going to have with the customer service representative who's life you're going to make miserable. We don't have the time to wait for Juan and Anders to hash out their differences on jalapenos and anchovies as toppings. Let them duel to the death prior to the call and then the winner can choose the poison that they feel like injecting into their overweight selves. Seriously, doing a Google-like collection of data from a household worth of occupants won't end well. I've seen fights break out between two people trying to agree on toppings, what help will it be to add two to ten more different tastes to the decision making trouble?

This is a grand total of four requests. That's all that I ask for. Is that really too much to hope for? Just don't let your over-entitled child meltdown into the receiver, contain Air Bud from airing out his vocal chords into my ear drum, don't put the person you called on hold and don't do an AP presidential sized poll on what people in your neighborhood would like applied to their pizza. Essentially don't physically or emotionally take a badminton racket to my shuttlecock. Your pizza will ultimately ring in at a lower price, be delivered faster and won't be toted around by an angry asshole that's had his soul sucked out of him by one two many under-drugged or over-drugged animals that are masquerading as customers and civilized human beings.  


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Part One

What's the best way to ensure that my pizza delivery arrives fast, gets made correctly and that I get a good deal?

There are a variety of ways to ensure that your order will turn out terrifically. In fact, I'd argue that any method will give you a positive result with the following exceptions:
Don't have a screaming child or barking dog in the background of your phone call. First off, why are you standing in the middle of Cesar Millan's commercial dog run naked and glazed in cow fat? I only ask because that's honestly the only explanation I have for the amount of noise that's being bull-horned into the phone on my end. That or the pack of Hyena's that you're trying to tame in your dining room isn't going as swimmingly as you had anticipated. Whatever the reason may be for your Dachshund reaching dangerous decibel levels, just step into another room and complete the transaction. You don't need a companion that enjoys eating cat shit and wiping it's ass on the living carpet inches away from your face for the four minutes it takes to order a pizza. 

Seriously, though, dogs reach dangerously high levels of noise. On average a single large dog will clock in between 100 and 110 decibels. You know what else registers at that earsplitting level? Helicopters, diesel trucks, lawnmowers and cars travelling at freeway speeds. That's just a single dog, too. So can you imagine what it's like when you have the vocal chords of your schnauzer that you cleverly named John Belushi the Third pressed up against the receiver end of the phone while your whispering your credit card information to me? Here's a scary and obviously unknown stat, at a quarter of a mile a pack of dogs can still register in at 75 dBs. For those of you that aren't in the know, that's around the level of an alarm clock and a freight train. Now, I'm not saying that you should cross county lines to place your order or anything, I'm just saying do us a solid and step outside or into another room where your small pack of Husky's aren't busy howling at the moon.

Same goes for your kids. Who hears their child mid-tantrum and thinks, you know what? I could really go for some cheesy sticks and hot wings right about now. Apparently everybody, because as it turns out, that's a solid one in three phone calls these days. I mean, I understand still having to get some sort of food on the table even if your kid sounds like their trying to pass a kidney stone. I truly do get it. Kids are awful and never shut the fuck up. I'm not saying that you should duct tape their mouths shut, hog tie them and throw them into the nearest ravine until your pan pizza is prepared (although it'd be nice). I just want you to avoid trying to sooth your swaddled child that's colicky while subsequently directing that vuvuzela on steroids that is your shit filled son's screams into the center of my eardrum. For those that are perplexed about what to do in just such a scenario, let me give you some solid advice; set your child in his or her crib, walk out of your nursery and place your order. After this two minute atrocity that you'd be committing, you could walk back into your child's room and then continue being the helicopter parent that you're determined to be. Trust me, a few extra heartbeats of unassisted crying won't be nearly as detrimental as the love that you're determined to smother them with. 

.....this is a two parter here people. In next weeks article, I'll include more ways to effectively avoid having your server toss around the idea of injecting you with a GRIDS filled syringe. 

Speak No Evil

Wayne's Wisdom:

Don't ever assume you know who's on the phone when you answer a call.
Finish your greeting like a normal sober individual and then initiate the conversation about how we should go all Hiroshima on the middle-east because a dude with a turban cut you off in the 7-Eleven parking lot and made you spill your Sour Patch flavored Slurpee. 

It may seem harmless to just open up with the familiar tense of the N word when you think you know who it is; the problem is, the time you do open up with a casual conversation about how your best friend's girlfriend is a bitch, you'll be piped through his car's Bluetooth and she'll be sitting shotgun, and waiting for you with a figurative shotgun that'll put a snake shot right into the ass of the relationship you have with your homeboy. 

It may sound like I'm speaking from experience here, and well, I am. You see, I was at the pizzeria that I've been delivering for for over a decade when I was forced into answering a phone call. I usually avoided phone calls because customers constantly make me feel like my head is being slammed in my driver's side door. The yelling, the screaming, the lies, it's just all too much for me to handle since I'm barely holding onto my last dose of humanity as it is. Unfortunately, no one else was around and we were getting crushed, so I was forced to endure what I can only describe as a jalapeno and anchovy enema. That's what the average phone call feels like anyway. In a fortunate turn of events the phone call turned out to be our shift runners mom. Right when I realized who it was I said I would go get her daughter who just so happened to be running the shit-show that was going on that particular day. The shift runner/daughter was a kind hearted teenage girl that was in the midst of one of the most hectic rushes the store had ever seen. Well, when I told the girl that her mom was trying to place an order and that she was on the phone, the shift runner/daughter stormed over next to me and picked up the line at the adjacent terminal and venomously said, "It's busy right now, call again some other time!" She then went to hang up the receiver before she heard a snappy, "Excuse me? I should hang up?" You see, my unlucky co-worker picked up the the wrong line. I knew this because I was still holding the line with her mom on it. So she just so happened to pick up the phone and get a random customer that wanted to order a pizza. Thus she was telling this potential pizza connoisseur to essentially go fornicate with herself. The lovely and always unbelievably nice shift runner then had to spend the better part of the next few minutes unsuccessfully backpedaling and apologizing about how she thought that she was talking to her mom.
This is why you should never answer the phone with anything besides a greeting, because no matter how sure you are that you're in the clear, there's still a rock solid chance that you'll pound a Mai Tai or two, see the name of your lifelong friend Jorge pop up on caller ID, and open up with a joke about how he's a goddamn dirty wetback when in reality it's your Hispanic union rep calling you about your new hourly wage scale. 

This really isn't that hard. Just sound off with a simple hello before letting the racial epithets flood the room like the flash flood that sent ankle deep water into my apartment. Seriously, fuck California. We're in the midst of the biggest drought California has faced since the 1930's Dust Bowl and my place gets flooded. Actually, fuck it, answer the phone however you want. Get dumped or fired, what do I care? I'm too busy dealing with my couch absorbing eighty pounds of sewage water to dispense helpful advice. Here's my apartment complex: 

2 Fast 2 Furious

I want to make it known that I'm clearly not immune to terribleness. I'm as guilty of idiocy as the rest of the mouth breathing, Cap'n Crunch Oops! All Berries eating retail nightmares that exist out there. I may not eat SpongeBob Mac & Cheese with my fingers like I'm guessing the majority of these verbally incontinent malcontents do, but I do run on work related autopilot enough to where I find myself figuratively taking a commuter plane choke and pinning it to the ceiling, ultimately ruining the day of the innocent bystanders that got in the way of me and my emotional constipation.

The most recent metaphorical crash occurred when I pulled out of our pizzeria's parking lot with a delivery and turned out onto Main Street. Main Street is the aptly named slab of pavement that carries the majority of commuting traffic in Ramona. It's a pretty well traveled road with the exception of Sundays; the day in which 40% of the population gathers to worship some form of deity that gets super pissed about dipping your wick before your wedding day or eating popcorn shrimp and bacon. According to the site TV by the Numbers, the other 64% of the population is watching football, which means apparently the NFL caters to heathens. It also means that at least 4% of the community is lying about what they're actually doing on their Sundays, because the roadways are certainly depleted, but they're definitely not missing 104% of the population.
That's why I was surprised to see an astounding amount of traffic pouring through Main Street on this particular Sunday. I didn't think too long and hard about the number of vehicles hauling ass in my direction, though. I simply did what every Californian is forced to do if they want to successfully make it from point A to point B in the greater San Diego area. I turned out real slow in front of dozens of fast moving vehicles in an effort to get where I was going with the quickness.

To be fair, there are two lanes going each way on Main Street, so the cars that I managed to cut off could simply go around me. They did just that, too. Several cars bypassed me without even sparing me the seething glance that I justifiably deserved. That's when one non-distinct car decided to pull up next to me, lay on their horn and wave out the passenger window for the better part of half a mile. In response to the hostility, I did the only thing that any narcissistic monster that's too much of a pussy to initiate confrontation could do. I dangerously weaved through traffic at around 15 miles per hour over the speed limit in an effort to alienate everyone in town from the business I was advertising with my car topper. That's when I noticed a break in the traffic. I thought it was odd that the sea of cars all of a sudden seemed to part before me. Eventually there was only one car ahead of me. It was a hearse. Turns out I had entered a funeral procession and the car that was making a scene was part of the caravan that was following the casket. Apparently they were trying to enlighten me about how I was cutting off a series of grieving family members. Or more specifically, they were trying to non-verbally tell me to fuck off through a series of hostile gestures and unfortunately appropriate honking. 

Now, in my defense, there's generally a cop or two that leads a procession. I was either too far back in the pack to have seen the officer or I was too worried about what scathing article I was going to write about in my next weeks edition of Why You're Terrible. Either way, my obliviousness and inability to see anyone else on the road as having the right-of-way is a microcosm of what's wrong with our collective social interactions in general. We see ourselves as the only active participants in life and everyone else as pieces that are preordained to move in a specific fashion around us; a fashion that we generally perceive (appropriately most of the time) as getting in our way or causing us grief. A little realization that everyone else is acting of their own, most of the time genial accord, would undoubtedly move us in a utopic direction and away from the cliff of cultural nihilism that we seem to be precariously balancing on. I'm of the opinion that this line of positive thinking would allow for an overall awareness to creep in and guide us in a productive path that isn't quite so selfishly oriented. There would be a slow but surefire understanding that others aren't simply out to get us, but that we're all here to guide one another in a direction that's best for all parties. In other words, the hostile car wasn't out to humiliate me because I was simply wearing a car topper and entering their driving space, they were trying to direct my attention to their dead homey that was taking the ultimate siesta in the glorified station wagon that was cruising through town a block-and-a-half up the road. Don't get me wrong, most of the time people are simply being chodes. Nine out of ten times the lifted truck that's honking at you with their self-installed freight liner horn that sounds like it was stolen from the harbor and bred with a vuvuzela, simply wants to express to you the true length and girth of their manhood, they're generally not trying to be polite and inform you about how you accidentally left your gas cap ajar. Just be aware that the rare 10% of the time that someone is flagging you down, they really are just looking out for your best interest, which just so happens to coincide with there's. So please, don't discount everyone, and occasionally try and return the courteously driven favor that was passed your way, the world will undoubtedly be a better place for it. 


Wayne's Wisdom:

Please join the 21st century and set up your voicemail. 

Listen, I understand being behind the times. I still have a standard clam-shell flip phone. That's right, that means I have no Twitter, no Facebook, no FaceTime and no soul sucking match three games that were made by money hungry hacks that make up for their lack of artistic ability by having the unending urge to kill the human spirit and make productivity screech to a grinding halt. And despite being the youngest adult male in the Northern Hemisphere to still lack a smartphone, I still successfully managed to set up my voicemail. I know most people, myself included, don't check their voicemail even if they do receive a message, but that's not the point here. What setting up your voicemail does is ensure that a figurative and literal message will be sent that the call that was placed had some level of importance. Like when I'm delivering a pizza and can't get a hold of you because you apparently felt compelled to go on a road trip to the Vons located three counties away to withdraw pocket change from the ATM to pay me with. A message in this scenario should key you in on the fact that the strange number that's been trying to ring through to you for the last thirty minutes isn't a telemarketer, but in fact is now the fantastically pissed off peon that was forced to attempt to funnel you fast food despite your self-imposed difficulties in letting me do so. 

I'm not telling you to duct tape your Galaxy Note to the side of your face so that I always have access to you. I'm not even asking that you answer every single strange phone number. I fully understand that around 97% of the time the caller in question is an illegal immigrant whose Horchata lovin' sausage fingers are too fat to dial the correct number on his or her burner phone. I also know that the other 2% of the time it seems to be the local blood-bank. At least for me anyway. I swear to God, it really seems like blood drives insist on getting every Ebonics speaking phlebotomist West of the Mississippi to spam my phone on a bi-weekly basis. The Red Cross is honestly killing my urge to be generous. Seriously, let a weekend pass without trying to guilt me into donating my blood. I'm willing to do it of my own volition. Just let the process occur naturally. If I see your Winnebago parked outside of my local Walmart, I'll give you some platelets and a solid 30 minutes of my time. This is all besides the point, though. The real problem here lies with the outlying one percent of the time that the call isn't the San Diego Blood Bank or a Honduran that's trying to phone home. That leftover one percent is me. It's me begging and praying that you'll pick up your phone so I can put down the 23 pounds of pizza that is costing our store around $5 dollars to make, $5 dollars to deliver and .25 cents every wasted minute after that. Oh, and don't forget that this process required that some pig give up it's life to be gloriously set in front of your face. Not that people actually care about the cost of their negligence. That requires some amount of awareness to shine down through the cloud cover known as narcissism that's covering the majority of millennials out there.  

Honestly, all I'm asking for is that if you're repeatedly getting a strange number spamming your line and you just placed an order for a physical service to be hand delivered to you, answer your phone. Or, at the very least, set up your voicemail so I can fire that digital signal flare into your prefrontal cortex. With a simple answered call or voicemail I can inform you about how I'm standing at your front door and can see you sitting on your living room couch watching the extended edition of Transformers 3 with your surround system registering in at a Richter scale of 3.4. This tiny favor and fractionally small bit of exerted effort doesn't just benefit me. Quite the opposite, a little awareness will guarantee that your food will arrive fresh and fast. Maybe even fast enough for me to actually get an extra delivery or two and eventually afford a real smartphone of my very own one day.      

The Expendables

Wayne's Wisdom:

Don't ask your pizza delivery driver for whippets when he's standing at your door on Memorial Day at 11:30pm.

First off, have a little respect for 1,354,664 men and women that have lost their lives fighting for the freedom that ultimately secured you the right to beg for drugs from otherwise unemployable adults that deliver food. Secondly, why would I deliver a pizza to your door while carrying paint thinner, gasoline, industrial strength glue and/or cans of Reddi Wip? As prepared as I like to be, lugging around an emergency bottle of extra strength degreaser in my cargo shorts isn't top priority. I know an astounding 13% of the US population (14-20% of 8th graders!) have supposedly dabbled in the dark arts of snorting office supply solvents, but that means there's a pretty solid chance that I'm part of the 87% of the gen pop that hasn't attempted to charbroil my brain by inhaling a half-liter of Febreze.
Seriously, why would I have a can of anything on me besides Red Bull when I'm driving around barely palatable food at a time when the only other people that are up are gang taggers, rapists and 7-Eleven gas station attendants? I don't want to ruin my coordination or slur my speech any more than I already do, and I definitely don't want to end up like the 180,000 annual hospitalizations that are needed as a result of inhalants. I just want to deliver your food so I can go home and cry myself to sleep about the fact that I just turned 30 and I'm still delivering pizzas to junkies that are half my age.

Don't hold back your literally half-baked demand for drugs for my sake, though. Don't even show restraint for the military that we're supposed to be honoring. I just want you to ask yourself if you really want to be remembered by friends and family as the 23 year-old that was found dead clutching a can of extra strength Axe deodorant? Is that really the end game that you had in mind? Because I'm guessing that your grand pappy that successfully avoided contracting tuberculosis and managed to hold back a Nazi insurgence in East Berlin had a different ending in mind for his apparently genetically flawed lineage. Don't try and live up to the lofty expectation of others, though, be a degenerate, just try not to rub the stink of failure off on the innocent bystanders around you. 


I invited a delivery driver into my house just to be nice and so he could place the food on my counter, but he told me he wasn't allowed to come in, why?

There's a number of different reasons. The first being that it's generally store policy. Pizzerias don't want their semi-stoned junior college dropouts that are masquerading as employable individuals wandering around the homes of customers. They're obviously afraid that we'll steal your collection of vintage Time magazines that span an astounding two decades. And even if we don't actually make off with your wall of Precious Moments figurines, the store doesn't want to be inadvertently saddled with some inane lawsuit about how we supposedly committed some bullshit crime. See, the idea is, if we stay out of the homes of customers, the con-artists of the world can't accuse us of thievery. That's when the leverage that they might have had over our store sifts through their shifty little pizza-less fingers. I don't blame store owners or corporate offices for taking these kind of precautionary measures. Drivers are uneducated animals that need a full inventory on eBay to sell to fund their Oxy habit. At the same time, customers usually fall squarely into the category of Jurassic World aficionados that live to complain there way into free meals at the expense of their fellow man; making upper management's paranoia about any kind of trespassing, permitted or not, 100% understandable.
Honestly, nobody tends to follow these archaic no entry rules anyway. If we refuse to help lug your food into your house it's because we have other valid reasons to ignore your polite invitation besides The Man cracking his whip from some boardroom in Ann Arbor. Having a house that smells like a Motel 6 maid made love with an unneutered cat is one of those reasons. For whatever reason it seems that the majority of courteous customers that insist on us assisting them in their home tend to be homeowners that have more cats than NFL DB's have illegitimate children. The reason that cat lovers feel compelled to usher us inside their homes is unclear, but what is crystal-fucking-clear is that these zealots always seem overly willing to share their pungent palace with as many innocent outsiders as possible. Eau de Asparagus Fed Tom Cat is the only way I can properly describe the general smell of these shanties. In their defense, there is a somewhat plausible scientific explanation for the inability to associate one's own home with the smell of ammonia and kitty litter. There's  a parasite called Toxoplasmosis that appears in the feces of cats courtesy of the rodents that they devour. The parasite is believed to have a subtle effect on it's human hosts. It's actually thought that the infection can alter our personality in a somewhat profound way that includes inhibiting our self-control and personal awareness. Or these feline fans are simply trying to lure us in and feed us to their two dozen tabbies. Either way, just fucking stop. Please. I don't like the smell of urine and you obviously aren't fond of fresh air. That makes your entryway the ideal middle ground in this pizza delivering scenario.  
Dog lovers, you're not off the hook here either. Cats may make their surroundings look and smell like a hobo's spent a fortnight rolling around in beach sand and .99 Cent Store detergent, but dog owners seem to overlook the fact that their particular metaphorical transient doesn't stick to the litter box and instead seems to enjoy dropping regular dooks on the floor in front of their dining room. These collectors of canines also seem compelled to invite individuals into their homes at an equally alarming rate as most crazy cat people, which is unfortunate on multiple levels. First off, cats can't maul you. Well, they can, but if Snickers the six pound siamese sets loose on you and you lose that battle, then that's on you. Meanwhile, there's really no way to stem the inevitable bloody tide when a 97 pound rottweiler gets a full head of steam and decides to show you what the inside of your inner thigh would look like if it collided with a milk bone scented auger. Also, inexplicably, dog owners never seem to pick up the dog shit that their dachshund deposits around their domicile. I've never been invited into a living room and stumbled into a rogue cat turd that caught me by surprise. Dog owners on the other hand, they apparently like to keep souvenirs of their dog's squirrel infused feces so they can sell it at their local farmer's market as a natural remedy to a sinus infection. That's the only explanation that makes any sense anyway. Why else would dog owners just let landmines like that lay around? My last complaint about dog owners inviting us in is that dogs bark and growl, cats don't. Cats see a stranger and book it for the nearest bed frame that they can hide under. Meanwhile, dogs decide that the only option is to dole out some well timed tinnitus inducing terror. And as much as I like delivering pizzas, I would love to be able to make it to my third decade of life while still being able to hear my inner monologue. I mean, feeling like your chow shoved a sharpened pig hoof into my ear drum is awesome, but being able to hear the sweet nothings that my loved one is trying to whisper into my ear (the porn that I've almost got muted because my apartment walls are paper thin) at the end of the day is a little more enticing.
Besides the fact that companies these days seemingly don't trust customers and employees to interact without some kind of looting or light raping occurring; and despite the fact that your house may or may not smell like a Porta Potty that Major League Eating champ Tim Janus spent a week in after setting the Guinness world record for eating Sushi (141 pieces in six minutes!); there is another reason for us waving off your invite. Customers can be scary. We don't want to wander into the tool shed that you call a home that's centered in the middle of the Mojave desert to serve you under the twenty foot Jesse Ventura banner that you've got stapled to your ceiling. You sharpening your samurai sword on a whet stone while never breaking eye contact isn't going to push us over the policy breaking edge either. Hide the cutlery, stop disassembling and reassembling your assault rifle while blindfolded, and try to look like you've seen an orthodontist at least once in your lifetime. Then, and only then, will we make an exception and walk on in. I don't think this is asking for all that much. Just fire up your Scentsy candle, put the dogs outside and look like you know that a toothbrush isn't literally meant for one tooth. That's honestly all it really takes. And if I'm asking for too much, just pay us outside. That way I can avoid bleeding from the eyes because of the pack of dogs you have living in your studio apartment, and your mind can be set at ease since you won't have to worry about me nicking the decorative urn that I mistook for a Faberge egg because I was smoking hash out of my vape pen on the ride over. It's a win-win.

I do appreciate the kind gesture, though.

Under the Skin

Here's another question I've received multiple times in recent weeks:

Is it true that almost all restaurants have some level of pest infestation?

According to multiple customers I've served, yes. In fact, we had one particular customer that claimed that her pizza was covered in cockroach legs. What this lady didn't realize is that when pineapple and cheese cook together the sticky moisture causes individual strands of mozzarella to stick together and burn. Forming what looks like little follicles of hair, or as she saw it, cockroach legs. 

This is how paranoid people are these days. Instead of taking a more skeptical or common sense approach, people just seem to jump straight to the conclusion that cooks are constantly going rogue with a pair of tweezers and a 7th graders framed bug display. This particular customer could have just sat back and asked herself, "Why would there be a dozen cockroach legs on my pizza with nary a body to be found?" But instead of attempting to rationalize the situation by realizing that we're probably not  a bunch of sociopaths with a fetish for insect mutilation, she opted to think that we took some sort of sick pleasure in dismembering our cohabitants by ritualistically spreading their appendages out on our pizzas like we were adding a premium topping to our already pretty extensive menu. What the hell's wrong with customers out there? Do people just imagine that we have the Hunchback of Notre Dame's learning disabled twin maliciously topping pies in an attempt to poison the general populace? I can tell you right now, we're probably not going to go that route because that's generally not a surefire way to ensure long term job security. This slight problem makes for a tiny conflict of sorts. You see, most employees, no matter how pissed off or peabrained, would rather grind through a shift than cause chaos by fondling the phalanges of flying cockroaches. Plotting really isn't in our relatively unproductive repertoire.  Waking and baking is just a bit more in our work adversed wheelhouse.

I've been in the food business for over ten years now and have never seen any sort of food related tampering. And even if some sort of molestation did occur, it wouldn't be the dissection of a creature that the University of California claims is the most feared insect in the world. Seriously, do you really think that someone that gets paid minimum wage to toss moist ham on some overzealous yeast while high on reefer is going to have the balls to set up their own insect version of Auschwitz? I can tell you right now that my minimum wage brethren and I almost all universally fear true manual labor, so why would that fear not extend to a creature that spreads over 33 different kinds of bacteria that includes E.Coli and Salmonella? As much as I like punishing the clientele that keeps me employed, I enjoy avoiding dysentery and blood poisoning much more than removing the legs from the thorax of a creature that I scream when I see.

Honestly, the grossest chitin covered creature I've witnessed in any of the stores that I've ever been associated with are flies and moths. So, essentially, a colorless butterfly and a conniving bug that makes its way through the door when employees take their smoke break out back. This means we've only had the occasional insect related intruder. None of which wanted anything to do with the pizzas that are meant for our patrons. You know how I know that our pizzas remained pest free? Because I was an oven tender for nearly a decade. I cut nearly a quarter of a million pizzas. And let me tell you, there's not a lot of canvas to cover when you're doing the cutting. 12 to 16 inches of space is small enough to be able to identify the wriggling of any invasive object, especially an insect.

I'm not necessarily saying that all places are safe and sanitary to eat at, but generally you can rest easy if an establishment has an 'A' from the Health Department. Anything less and I wouldn't be so sure. If you're curious, the best way to ensure that what you're eating is unmolested just go to Foodsafetynews.com. They'll break down why a business scored what they scored down to the very last health related infraction. They'll even detail the results of the violations, no matter how minor or massive. Now, I'm not guaranteeing 100% accuracy, but I'd say that the site is generally more credible than the crackheads that are suffering from Delusional Parasitosis (hallucinates bugs) and routinely feel like taking a junky filled journey to the forums of Facebook. Generally.